Six running for five open spots on Montville school board

Montville — The school board, fresh off a year when it faced tough decisions about education spending amid shrinking state aid, and a controversial proposal to hire a private busing contractor, could see a shake-up on Tuesday, when voters will decide who will fill five seats.

Six candidates are running for the five open seats on the nine-member Board of Education: three Democrats and three Republicans. The entire seven-member Town Council also will be on the ballot Tuesday, along with a seat on the Board of Assessment Appeals and two uncontested seats on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Democratic Town Committee nominated Sandra Berardy, a veteran school board member who returned to the board to fill a vacancy after losing an election in 2013. Also on the Democratic ticket are Monica Pomazon, who filled the seat left vacant in January when her husband, Todd Pomazon, died suddenly, and Tara Crossley, a newcomer to town politics who says she was inspired by a successful effort to change the town's backyard chicken regulations.

The Republican candidates include two incumbents: Joseph Aquitante III, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in February, and Steven Loiler, who was elected to a second term on the board in 2013. Aquitante ran unsuccessfully for the Board of Assessment Appeals in 2013. Dana Ladyga, another newcomer to Montville politics, is the third Republican candidate.

Each party can only win a maximum of three seats on the board to meet state minority representation regulations — one party can elect a maximum of six people to a nine-person board.

Voters also will decide Tuesday who will fill an open seat on the Board of Assessment Appeals, which considers individual appeals of the assessed values of properties in town. Gary Murphy, the recently retired chief of the Oakdale Fire Department and a member of the Water Pollution Control Authority, is the Democratic candidate. Wills Pike, a longtime voice in town budgeting and a candidate for the Town Council, is the Republican candidate.

Two people — Democrat John MacNeil and Republican Robert Yuchniuk — are running uncontested for two open seats on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

m.shanahan@theday.com

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